Workplace absence can be a challenge for any organisation. Excessive or long-term absence in the workplace can impact productivity and profitability, and create low morale.

However, there are a number of absence management strategies to help minimise the impact of workplace absence and improve employee productivity.

The HR department is responsible for a wide variety of tasks, from recruiting, to benefits, administration, employee relations, and managing employee absences.

An absence management system is a tool used by HR departments to track employee absences. Whether they’re due to holidays, sick days, or personal reasons, by tracking employee absences, HR can ensure that absences are properly documented.

What Does the Absence Management Process Involve?

The absence management process in your company should include:

  • An absence management policy: A good absence management policy will involve managing sickness absence, unauthorised absence, and authorised absence.
  • A clear process for reporting and managing absences: This process should involve both managers and HR, and should be clear to all employees. This could also include any software used to manage long and short-term absences.
  • Effective communication: Effective communication is essential to managing employee absences. This includes communicating the absence policy to employees, keeping managers and HR updated on any changes to the policy, and clear procedures related to how to inform employees of any changes.

Why is Absence Management Important?

With more employees working remotely than ever before, it’s essential to have a clear and effective absence management policy.

Without a clear policy, it can be difficult to manage absences effectively. By taking the time to invest in absence management strategies, you are positively influencing your workforce.

What are the Benefits of an Absence Management System?

There are a number of benefits that come with implementing an absence management system in your organisation. Some key benefits include:

  • Improved Productivity: By investing in an employee’s job satisfaction and managing an employee’s absence proactively, absent employees are more likely to return to work feeling refreshed and motivated. As a result, they are likely to be more productive when they return to work.
  • Reduced Costs: By managing employee absences effectively, you can reduce the cost of lost productivity due to absences. In addition, by using an automated system, you can also save on the cost of manual tracking and managing employee absences.
  • Improved Employee Morale: When employees feel that their employer is taking steps to manage their absence in a fair and effective way, it can improve morale and job satisfaction. In turn, this can lead to improved employee retention rates.

8 Absence Management Strategies

Mental Health First Aid Training

A powerful strategy for effectively managing workplace absence is to invest in Mental Health First Aid Training. This type of training can help employees learn how to manage their mental health.

In addition, MHFA training can also help managers learn how to effectively manage employees who are struggling with their mental health. By investing in MHFA training, you can reduce employee absenteeism and improve productivity in the workplace.

For company-wide Mental Health First Aid training, we recommend a Mental Health Aware  course. The MH Aware course can help employees and managers alike learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health. The course also teaches delegates how to have effective conversations about mental health. Employees can also be signposted to the appropriate support. You can also train employees in the Mental Health Champions Course to improve workplace culture and employee satisfaction.

Encourage a healthy work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is essential for employee wellbeing. When employees are overworked, they are more likely to experience symptoms of burnout, which can lead to time off work.

To encourage a healthy work-life balance, you should ensure that your employees have sufficient time for breaks and holidays. In addition, you should also encourage your employees to take advantage of their entitled leave, such as sick leave if they are ill. Or parental leave if required.

You can also promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements, such as working from home. This can help employees to better manage their work and personal commitments, potentially reducing the need to take time off work.

Return-to-work interviews

As part of an absence management policy, employees should be supported when they return to work. This can be done by conducting return-to-work interviews after an employee has been absent from work.

Return-to-work interviews give you the opportunity to learn more about the reasons for an employee’s absence. Likewise, they help to identify any support that may be needed to help them at work. In addition, these interviews can also help to improve communication between managers and employees.

Leadership development 

Another key strategy for managing workplace absence is to invest in leadership development. This type of training can help managers learn how to manage employees, including those who are absent from work.

In addition, leadership development can also help managers learn how to create a positive and supportive working environment. This can also help to reduce workplace absence.

Training your leadership team in Mental Health First Aid can also be beneficial. As mental ill-health is a leading cause of workplace absenteeism, MHFA training will help managers to support employees who are struggling with their mental health.

Mental Health First Aiders can also provide support to employees who are struggling with their mental health, signposting them to the appropriate support.

Sick pay schemes

While statutory sick pay (SSP) is often involved in an employee absence policy, companies can consider offering a more generous sick pay scheme. This could include offering full pay for the first few days of absence or partial pay for a longer period.

By offering a more generous sick pay scheme, employees can take the time they need to recover, rather than coming to work when they are not well enough. In turn, this can help to reduce the spread of illness in the workplace and improve employee productivity.

In addition, a more generous sick pay scheme can also help to improve employee engagement, morale, job satisfaction and boost retention rates. For a long-term investment in your business reputation, this is an important consideration.

Reasonable adjustments

Alongside clear guidance on company absence management policies, reasonable adjustments should also be made for employees with health conditions that cause them to need time off work.

Reasonable adjustments at work could include changes to an employee’s working hours, offering a flexible working arrangement, or changes to the workplace environment. These adjustments can help to reduce the impact of a health condition on an employee’s ability to do their job. As a result, this can help to improve an employee’s health and prevent long-term absence.

Companies also have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees with a disability, under the Equality Act 2010.

Workplace absence management software

If you are concerned about persistent short-term absence in your business, you can utilise software as part of your absence management strategy.

This software can help you to track employee absences, identify patterns and causes of absence, and manage return-to-work interviews.

Employee assistance programmes

An employee assistance programme (EAP) is a confidential counselling service that can support employees with a range of personal and work-related issues.

EAPs can help to address the causes of absenteeism, for example stress, anxiety, depression or other causes. In turn, this can help to improve employee wellbeing and reduce the need for time off work.

To do this, you can find a suitable occupational health provider who can offer an EAP as part of their service. You can then sign your employees up for the programme, so they can access support whenever they need it.

Considering Accredited Mental Health First Aid Training?

By implementing some or all of these strategies, you can effectively manage employee absence in your workplace. It’s important to remember that each business is different, so you may need to tailor your approach to fit the specific needs of your organisation.

If you’re looking for expert Mental Health First Aid training, we can help. We offer a range of Mental Health First Aid Training courses. Our MHFA Courses can equip you and your team with the skills you need to support employees who may be struggling with their mental health. 

For more information, get in touch with Great Minds At Work today.